A True Story
|Let me preface this by saying that this started as an e-mail to my ex-primary, who started taking meth in September 2014. My relationship with him lasted five years, and looking back on it now, I realize that he was verbally abusive in many, sometimes subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle, ways. I keep in touch with him because I still care about him to some extent, but I can’t trust him with my emotions anymore. This isn’t about my ex, though. I wrote this for me, not for him.
When I realized this was getting long, I decided to rewrite it and share it with the world. Kari Rakitan is my pen name. All names have been removed and are now represented by one letter only. If this touches you, feel free to share it.
I started dating new people in February 2015 and found two amazing married men on OKCupid who were both fathers and both sword fighters by coincidence. Their wives had not only given them full permission, but encouraged them to date other women. C’s wife went out with her boyfriend when I showed up to spend the weekend with him because his son was old enough to look after himself. B’s wife R joined us in the bedroom a couple of times after she put their toddler to sleep.
On August 27, 2015 I received the worst news I had ever heard from R in a private Facebook message. She made sure I was among the first to know.
B is dead.
B died in a motorcycle accident on his way home from work.
This is a story about an incredibly loving and honest man, who I am privileged to have known intimately. This is also a story about how polyamorous relationships don’t fail because of polyamory. Polyamorous relationships fail for the same reasons other relationships fail or can last the rest of your life — even if your life is cut short. We simply don’t get the chance to hear about these loving relationships because most of us are still closeted and television shows like to show drama. I’m still with C today, but this is mainly about B and R.
I only got to be with B for six months, but he and R were married for thirteen years. They knew each other for sixteen years in total.
B wasn't out to his parents mainly because of his stepmother. His stepmother and his father watch their daughter M sometimes. He felt that his stepmother would be most uncomfortable with it and stop babysitting M and they wouldn't be able to go out on dates as often – not only dates with other people, but with each other as well. For that reason I will remain silent about my exact relationship with him at the funeral.
There will be people there who know, though. R's parents know. They were a bit uncomfortable about it, but they gave B and R some condoms, which we definitely used. B was also looking forward to being part of the FDA's clinical trials for Vasalgel.
B worked for a federal law enforcement agency. He wasn’t a secret agent, but an agent nonetheless. He was mostly closeted at work, but a few people know. I can't remember exactly what he called it, but the recruitment person in charge of keeping records on the employees knew. Basically, when they hire people they have to make sure there are no weak points where they could be blackmailed. They knew when they hired him that B’s marriage was open, but the fact that he was honest with R about it meant that it would not cause any problems. When China hacked into our government’s database, they got all B’s information, including that. Part of me wonders if the motorcycle accident was a cover story for something else, since the police were not able to find or name the driver who hit him.
B was close enough to one coworker to come out of the closet to him. One day we went to Buffalo Wild Wings together. When the coworker asked B if he was bringing his wife, B replied proudly, “I’m bringing my wife and my girlfriend.” They talked a lot about work stuff, and it wasn’t as glamorous as one might imagine the work of a federal agent to be, but I was glad to have this insight on reality.
Speaking of B's work, he was on-call even on weekends. I remember waking up next to him with his phone going off and listening to him having to deal with reports about some woman trying to commit suicide (or merely seeking attention by threatening suicide) by climbing up a lamppost during the Pride Parade. I know it was a mere annoyance and matter of routine to him, but watching him handle it while pacing around the room naked was, well, sexy.
Then there was the day he was going to spend at the shooting range with his dad. He left me alone in the house for a few hours while he went and did that, but that morning I got to wake up to watch him taking gun after gun, including some sort of automatic rifle, out of his safe and packing them into a carrying case while checking over everything thoroughly. Finally I commented, "I know where I'm coming during the apocalypse."
"That's not the first time I've heard that," he said. "Actually I have friends who are even more armed than I am. It's ridiculous."
B also told some friends who are not coworkers. His friends J, D, R, and I all played a PC game called Heroes of the Storm together, forming a full team. For those of you who are not gamers, it's a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) similar to the game Vainglory C works on, only C's game is exclusively for touch screens - tablets and smartphones. I only have a laptop and I wanted to know what a MOBA was like in order to have more shared interests with both my boyfriends, so I downloaded Heroes of the Storm.
Heroes of the Storm is a very social game - not social in the same sense as a Facebook game, but in a much more active way. MOBAs in general are all about teamwork. C's game Vainglory is about sitting in the same room with friends while you play, perhaps against a team on the other side of the world. For PC games there's a program that we use for talking to each other over the internet while playing. It's like Skype, but with "channels" you can join for a group and leave the program running in the background while you play. So B and I could talk on "fuck mountain" after he got off work and play at the same time. I liked being his healer. We weren't very good, especially since I have a lot of lag with my not-quite-gaming-model laptop, but we won our last two games together. Ironically he was Leoric, the skeleton king, and I was Tyrande.
Also spooky is the fact that I hung a ceramic Kokopelli (Native American trickster god) bell my ex gave me from the ceiling in my room, and it fell and broke very near the time of B's death. I didn't note the exact time, but I have a strong feeling about it. R, J, and other people who knew him have reported some strange happenings too. Even in death, B has a sense of humor and likes to let us know he’s still watching us.
R is very open about our relationship. I don't know of a friend in existence she hasn't told. She holds what's called "stitch 'n bitch" where a bunch of ladies get together and knit or crochet or whatever it is they like to do with yarn and gossip. It's good-natured gossip, though. I've been to two of those, and while I felt too shy to say much to the group, it was clear there were no secrets. B talked about how he told his doctor that he wanted to get tested for STIs every six months because of his lifestyle, and his old doctor put up a lot of resistance, so he went and found a new one who would automatically set up appointments for him. B’s last round of tests came back clean. When B noticed I was getting bored with the conversation, we slipped upstairs to fuck, listening to R and her friends chatting and giggling.
B took an interest in my interests too. He showed up at a regional Odyssey of the Mind tournament I was judging and watched. He said I could coach M's Odyssey of the Mind team when she's old enough, and I'm definitely going to do that if R is still OK with it. B also read one of my favorite books, “The Broken Coast” by Bruce Lee Bond, while he was on a business trip. He was going to read more of my favorite books, including “The Red Light Princess” by James Bodden, but he never got the chance. He was without a doubt an exceptionally attentive boyfriend and husband.
Gentlemen of all genders, if you want to impress a lady, read her favorite books!
M also took a liking to me pretty quickly. I wound up going to a dentist appointment with B and M while R was busy rehearsing for a local Shakespeare in the park performance. The people at the dentist's office mistook me for his wife, though at the time he corrected them by telling them that I was his friend in case his wife wanted to go to the same dentist later. They weren't going to tell complete strangers in case said strangers decided to call Child Protective Services on them. Anyway, I watched M while B was in the chair, watching her dump out a bucket of large LEGOs and playing for a little while, then her wanting to do something else, but me insisting that we had to put the LEGOs away first. Then her wanting to be picked up so she could see and touch a waterfall that was inset in the wall. That went back and forth for a while until it was M's turn. They had her sit in B's lap while they tried to look in her mouth, but she still freaked out, so they'll have to try again later when she's a little older.
M knows me by sight now and instantly says my name when she sees me. She'll take one or two of my fingers in her little hand and lead me somewhere to show me something. She likes taking me into the back yard and asking me to fill up a watering can by saying, "I need more," then making mud with it. "I need more," seems to be one of her favorite phrases. She took me up to her room once and showed me her piggy bank, removing the rubber stopper in the bottom as well as the nonslip pads on the four feet of the pig, then dumping out as many coins as she could, then putting them back in the slot and saying, "I need more money," and having me get the rest of the coins out so she could do it all over again.
Well, I need more B. The whole world needs more B. He had an interview for a promotion that was two tiers up, which included managing [redacted]. He was the [redacted] and could have risen to Secretary of [redacted] by the time he was 40, perhaps even becoming President by 45. He could have decided to come out publicly as polyamorus and changed the way America saw us, and I would have been there right alongside him. I would have been his speech editor. R would write the speeches and I would edit them. C would be there too, confirming everything B said because they're good friends, almost brothers. Yes, I let my imagination run wild and I don't regret that. C taught me that the bigger my dreams were, the higher I would rise in the world. My ex told me not to get my hopes up about anything. I'm going to keep dreaming the way I dreamt as a child and see where it takes me next.
I was busy with someone else on M's second birthday. I was invited by R and already had plans, but afterwards I brought over two picture books I had saved from my childhood to give to M, since I decided I'm not interested in having children of my own. One is a vintage Mickey Mouse story and the other, which she will probably not understand until she is older, is Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat by Amy Tan. R had a friend over at the time, and her friend recognized the name Amy Tan immediately. This book is about social change. In a nutshell (spoiler alert) the Emperor makes a decree that people must not sing until the sun goes down, Sagwa's parents write it in ink with their tails, and Sagwa gets curious and accidentally falls into a pot of ink. She blots her nose on part of the decree and her footprints look like musical notes. The people receive a decree that says people must sing until the sun goes down and are overjoyed. They form a procession and go to the Emperor singing, and instead of being angry, he too is brought to joy.
That story influenced me in a way much deeper than my parents ever expected over the years. "People must not love more than one person at a time," becomes, "People must love people before time runs out." This is our world, and we can change it for the better. It doesn't always have to be the way it is.
At this point I would like to pause and dedicate this song, “The Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby & the Range, to B.
B wasn't supposed to die like this. He and C were supposed to kill each other in a sword fight. At least, that’s what R joked about. B's spirit animal is a wolf and C identifies as a lion, so in the Game of Thrones universe, they are Stark and Lannister: mortal enemies. They've texted each other naked pictures of me though, and it's absolutely adorable the conversations they had with each other. I was going to make a joke on Facebook that nobody would know was actually based in truth by taking a video of them sword fighting (their faces would be covered) with the caption, "So my boyfriends found out about each other . . ."
B also told me some stories about his sword master G, which I can't remember the full details of, but there was something about G hiking up a mountain while carrying his pregnant wife on his back. The moral of the story is that G is an absolute badass, and B was his student. I’ll meet G at the memorial service.
There's so much more I could say, but I've been typing to the point of exhaustion. I'm going to the private viewing tomorrow morning followed by a formal memorial service on Saturday.